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Now on VOD - Star Trek Beyond - Now Streaming Review 8.5/10

This week on the Harold & Maudecast's Now Streaming Reviews, STAR TREK BEYOND! It premiered at Comic Con in July 2016 and has just been released on DVD and is Now Streaming on Amazon and other VOD services.

This time around, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the enterprise head into uncharted space on a rescue mission to help an alien ship that has been attacked by an unknown foe. After discovering there is no ship to rescue, they quickly find themselves under attack by a new enemy, Krall (Idris Elba) and his army who capture the crew, destroy the ship, and leave Jim and the gang dispersed and defenseless on an alien planet. As Jim tries to save his crew members, Krall plots to destroy the Federation. It's up to our heroes to stop him.

START TREK BEYOND, is an action packed, visually exciting, fun thrill ride. All the returning Enterprise crew members are back including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Jon Cho and Anton Yelchin. New to space in addition to Idris Elba brilliantly playing bad guy Krall is Sofia Boutella (KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE) as alien baddass, Jaylah. Sweet tributes to Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy who both passed in 2016. Much justice for STAR TREK BEYOND. This 3rd installment of the JJ Abrahams reboot is helmed by Justin Lin (Fast Furious franchise) and written by Simon Pegg (aka Scotty) and Doug Jung (CONFIDENCE). The new direction and writing makes an enormous impact on the blueprint of the film, sending us into uncharted territory with this franchise. Witty, fresh, and captivating from beginning to end, STAR TREK BEYOND is definitely worth the Stream. 8.5/10

Posted by: Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe on Dec 16, 2016 at 3:43:08 pm movie reviews, star trek, Star Trek Beyond

Jackie - Movie Review

ACKIE is an immersive and intimate portrait of the immediate aftermath following the assassination of JFK as seen through the eyes of First Lady, Jackie Kennedy. The film stars NATALIE PORTMAN in the title role, PETER SARSGAARD as Bobby Kennedy, GRETA GERWIG as Nancy Tuckerman who was the Social Security to the Kennedy White House, Billy Crudup as The Journalist and John Hurt as The Priest.

The film is Directed by Pablo LARRAÍN, Written by Noah Oppenheim and Produced by Juan de Dios LARRAÍN, Darren ARONOFSKY, Mickey LIDDELL, Scott FRANKLIN, Ari HANDEL. Distributed by Fox Searchlight.

JACKIE hits theaters December 2, 2016.

You can read Sarah Mason's full review of JACKIE at

MOANA - Movie Review

This week on The HMC's Now Playing Reviews, MOANA, the latest animated film from Disney Pixar studios, is set in Ancient Polynesia where a young girl, Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) embarks on a great quest to return a stone, The Heart of the Ocean, to its rightful owner restoring life to the island where her people live. Aiding her on her quest, Maui (Dwayne Johnson), a demo-God who thrust them into this fine mess by stealing The Heart of the Ocean, must recover his mystical hook to regain his shape shifting powers and redeem himself.

The cast is rounded out by some veteran New Zealand actors including Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and the amazing Rachel House (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as Gramma Tala.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) co-wrote the original songs along with Opetaia Foa'i, original score and songs by Mark Mancina.

Despite the films stunning visuals and many fun moments (Look for Jemaine as a giant singing crab), the story itself has a dragging second act and too many unexplained anecdotes--Most notably; when Moana and Maui are attacked by a giant ship filled with coconut pirates who also want to recover The Heart of the Ocean in Moana's possession. It's one of the coolest sequences in the film from a visual perspective, but completely out of left field and these coconut pirates, though super fun, are never given an origin story or explanation as to why they too our pursuing the stone.

Though it may not secure its position in the Pixar hall of fame, by our measure, MOANA is fun and entertaining and visually fantastic. And bonus! The Rock sings, can this guy do literally everything???

Justice for MOANA, it gets a 8.3/10 on the Justice & Doom Movie Meter 8.3/10

Doctor Strange - Movie Review

The Harold & Maudecast review's DOCTOR STRANGE, Marvel's latest super hero to hit the big screen. Now Playing.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a brilliant and egotistical neurosurgeon loses everything when a car wreck strips him of the use of his hands. After traditional medicine fails him he travels to the secret compound Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu. It is there he discovers The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who aids him in mastering both the mystical arts as well as martial arts. What was a quest to regain his old life becomes a journey into redemeption and power as he transforms into a powerful sorcerer. Meanwhile, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), ex student of The Ancient One turned evil dooer, seeks to destroy the Sanctums that protect the earth from other dimensions. Strange along with fellow sorcerer, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) must defeat the powerful demon, Dormammu of the Dark Dimension before he destroys the earth.

Directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson (SINISTER), DOCTOR STRANGE delivers a visual feast with it's architectural bending production design. The story is standard issue Marvel blueprint, for better and somewhat for worse, falling to deliver enough of a back story to make this newly introduced super hero credible. Thanks to the heavy weight line up of actors--look for Mikkelsen's performance as the stand out, and the visual eye candy that is truly mind blowing, it's worth the theater go. 8/10

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OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL - Movie Review 8.5/10

This week on The Harold & Maudecast's countdown to Halloween Movie Reviews, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. In 1967 Los Angeles a widowed fortune teller (Elizabeth Reaser) tries to make ends meet for herself and daughters Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson) by boosting their séance scam with a new prop, a Ouija board. Bad news for the family when daughter Doris unwittingly unleashes unwanted evil entities. Even Father Tom (Henry Thomas) can't fight these grim creatures.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is the surprise sleeper hit of the October movie season. With clever jump scares, a well crafted story by Co-Writers Jeff Howard and Mike Flannagan this film is a must see for movie fans. Flannagan, best known for OCULUS and HUSH also directed this film. He is proving himself to be one of the best horror/thriller directors working today and one to watch for the future.

Lulu Wilson (DELIVER US FROM EVIL) gives a breakout performance as Doris. Always great to see Henry Thomas aka Eliot (E.T.) and Elizabeth Reaser steps out of the shadow of the TWILIGHT series and delivers a fantastic performance as well.

Bonus! Listen for the haunting score by The Newton Brothers.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is this year's THE CONJURING. It delivers the scares, and the story. 8.5/10

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Don't Breathe - Movie Review

On Now Playing Movie Reviews, Sarah and Jake from the Harold & Maudecast review DON'T BREATHE, an independent horror/thriller starring Stephen Lange (AVATAR) and Jane Levy (SUBURGATORY), Directed by Fede Alvarez (EVIL DEAD 2013). Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn't as helpless as he seems.

Definitely kept us on the edge of our seats, this is more Thriller than Horror. Stephen Lange delivers as a bad ass fighter and actor. The rest of the cast was lacking, but super solid direction, cinematography and a decent script kept this moving in the right direction. 7.8/10 on our Justice and Doom Movie Meter scale.

Hell or High Water Movie Review

In this week's Now Playing we review the film, HELL OR HIGH WATER. Facing the foreclosure of the family ranch, divorced father of 2 Tobey (Chris Pine) enlists the help of his ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster), to rob banks in order to pay back the money. Hot on their trail is Marshall Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) on his last mission before retiring.

The film is directed by David Mackenzie (YOUNG ADAM) and written by Taylor Sheridan (SICARIO). Big Justice for the script, direction, and acting, potential Oscar nods all around. 9/10 Take a listen and visit for more cool stuff and podcasts.

Kubo and the Two Strings - Movie Review 6/10

This week on Now Playing Reviews, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, a new stop-motion animated featured from Oscar nominated Director of THE BOXTROLLS, Travis Knight whose other credits include PARANORMAN and CORALINE.

Kubo (Art Parkinson - Rickon from Game of Thrones) enlists the help of a talking monkey (Charlize Theron) and a knightly beetle (Matthew McConaughey) on his quest to find his father's magical suit of armor. Along the way they encounter danger in the form of his wicked Aunts (Rooney Mara) and evil spirit grandfather (Ralph Fiennes).

This film was an incredible disappointment. The promise of an entire feature in stop-motion animation was so intriguing but the story does not live up to the spectacular visuals. Additionally, the character voices seem picked for sheer star power vs story aid or character arc. Epic Fail on that front. Still, some Justice for the sheer spectacle and beauty of the animate. 6/10

The Invitation - Movie Review

This week on Now Streaming, we review the 2016 film THE INVITATION starring Logan Marshall-Green (PROMETHEUS), John Carroll Lynch (American Horror Story: Freak Show), Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) and Tammy Blanchard (MONEYBALL). The horror/thriller is directed by Karyn Kusama (GIRLFIGHT) and written by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi. If you attended a dinner party hosted by your ex-wife and her new boyfriend at your old home, and they broke out a video of their new found love for a cult in which they circle around to watch people die, would you stay? Yeah. Well, with the exception of Will (Logan Michael-Green) this group doesn't quite catch on fast enough.

This film completely messes with your mind and it is AWESOME! Killer performances/writing/directions, it's a gem of a find. Stream it now! Big Justice.

Movie Reviews - Hunt for the Wilderpeople

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE written and directed by New Zealand actor/writer/filmmaker Taika Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS), is one of the best films of the Summer. Waititi adapted the screenplay from the novel by Barry Crump. It follows the story of Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a bad egg, who by circumstance finds himself on a journey into the New Zealand Bush with his newly adopted Foster "uncle" Hector, brilliantly played by the great Sam Neill.

After an award nabbing tour of the festival route, the film opened in the US on June 24th. We won't insult the film's intelligence by labeling it a mere "Feel Gooder" it's oh so much more. Newcomer Dennison is phenomenal as Ricky Baker, equal snaps to the wonderful supporting cast and Waititi is poised to emerge as the next genius storyteller.

9.5/10 on the Justice & Doom Meter. Much Justice!

Movie Reviews - The Conjuring 2 & Hush

Who doesn't love Horror movies in the Summer!? This week we review two horror/thriller films one Now Playing and the other Now Streaming.

HUSH from Writer/Director Mike Flanagan starring Kate Siegel who co-wrote the script and John Gallagher, Jr. It's a thriller with horror elements about a writer living in isolation in a house in the woods with just a couple nearby neighbors. She finally seems to break through her writer's block when a masked man appears to torment her forcing her to fight for her life. Just when you think you've seen every thriller plot twist and jump scare there possibly is in suspense films, think again. This well crafted script backed by solid performances from Gallagher and Siegel delivers. Be prepared to watch it with a pillow covering your face. It's that scary.

THE CONJURING 2 is the much anticipated (amongst horror lovers) sequel to the 2013 film THE CONJURING. Reprising their roles as real-life 1970s paranormal sleuths Ed and Lorraine Warren are Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Also returning is Director James Wan who in addition to THE CONJURING birthed the INSIDIOUS and SAW franchises. The Warren's case files include the infamous Amityville Horror incident which finds its way into the beginning of this sequel. This time the Warren's travel to London to investigate, on behalf of the Catholic church, a family being tormented by the ghost of an elderly man who died in their house. Turns out, it's a lot more sinister than that as the Warren's discover ties to Lorraine's earlier visions and the Amityville case. Though not as good as its predecessor, THE CONJURING 2 delivers on the jump scares -- you won't see them coming. And the demon takes the form of the CREEPIEST nun ever which says a lot coming from two hosts who endured Catholic school. As a standalone horror film, its solid, very scary, good performances, as part of this franchise, slightly lessor than the original. Listen to our review for our full 2 cents!

HUSH - 8.5/10
THE CONJURING 2 - 7.8/10

The HMC Network is a podcast network featuring genre entertainment commentary, movie and TV reviews, video game reviews, lifestyle & travel, event & Con media coverage & more. Featured on the Creative COW is our flagship podcast, The Harold & Maudecast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe. The Harold & Maudecast covers recaps and reviews of the latest Walking Dead and Game of Thrones episodes, Now Playing movie reviews, film festival and Comic Con & fan fest event coverage, technology expos and more. Fandom Never Gets Old.


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